Intermediate Total-Body Pilates Workout

This Intermediate Pilates workout is perfect for those of you who have mastered the basic Pilates exercises and are ready for a challenge.

Benefits of Pilates

  • It’s a Total Body Workout. Even though Pilates focuses on core strength, each Pilates workout should – and can – work all major muscles in the body and help develop balance through the body to prevent muscle imbalances.
  • Improves Mind-Body Awareness. Matching your movement with your breath helps connect your mind with your body.
  • Increases Flexibility. Each exercise will work to increase the range of motion through a joint and focus on building flexibility through the muscles.
  • Improves Posture. Pilates focuses on core strength, which is literally the structure that holds your bones in place and keeps your spine in a neutral alignment.

Intermediate Pilates Workout

Complete these exercise in conjunction with your beginners Pilates workout (or in a sequence of their own) for a total body Pilates workout.

Pilates Hundred – This is often used in basic Pilates classes, but with the legs in a 45-degree angle, this exercise becomes much harder. Start with your legs in a tabletop position, with your knees directly over your hips, your shins parallel to the floor, and your arms reaching down by your sides. EXHALE as you roll your chest and head up into an ab curl and extend the legs out to 45 degrees. INHALE as you hold and prepare, EXHALE in 5 quick and strong breaths, and then INHALE for 5 quick breaths for ONE repetition. Repeat for 10 total repetitions, or 100 breaths.

Neck Pull – This is very similar to the Roll Up in the beginners Pilates Workout, only this time you will perform it with your hands behind your head. Even though the exercise is called “Neck Pull,” you must be careful to not actually pull on your neck. Start by lying on your back with your hands behind your head. INHALE as you scoop and pull your navel into your spine, flattening your lower back to the mat. EXHALE as you roll your spine up one vertebra at a time, making sure you don’t let your abs “pooch” out. Once you make it all the way up and over towards your feet in a “C” curve, INHALE to lower back down one vertebra at a time. At the bottom, EXHALE to lift right back up. Repeat 4-8 times.

Teaser – Lay on your back with your arms reaching down by your sides. INHALE to engage the abs, and EXHALE as you roll one vertebra at a time off the mat while lifting the legs up to a 45-degree angle off the floor. Balance on your tailbone as you reach your arms towards your toes. Focus on lifting your chest and lengthening through your spine. INHALE to slowly lower back down, with control, one vertebra at a time. EXHALE and repeat 6-8 times.

Corkscrew – Starting on your back, raise yourself up onto your elbows, lifting your chest and keeping a straight spine. Bring the legs straight up to the ceiling. Keeping your legs and spine straight, INHALE as you begin to draw a circle with your legs. Lower them down and to the RIGHT. Once you hit the bottom, EXHALE as you finish drawing the circle and pull the legs up on the LEFT side. Complete 3-5 circles to the RIGHT, and then repeat making circles to the LEFT.

Reverse Plank – Start by sitting on the mat and placing your hands behind you with your fingers facing towards you. INHALE to engage the arms and abs, and step the feet out one at a time so that they are straight. EXHALE as you use your abs and back muscles to lift the hips so there is a straight line from your head to your feet. Hold for 5-10 deep breaths, and then gently lower back down.

Side Plank Mermaid – Start as if you were going into a standard side plank with your RIGHT elbow on the floor on your RIGHT side. INHALE to prepare, placing your LEFT hand on your top thigh. EXHALE as you use the bottom LEFT obliques to lift the hips off the mat as you reach your RIGHT arm up and over into an arch shape. INHALE as you lower back down, just barely touching your hip to the mat, and EXHALE. Repeat 5-10 times, then repeat on the other side.

Swimming – Lie on your stomach with your arms reaching out in front out you and your legs reaching straight behind you. Scoop your belly button up towards your spine as you EXHALEINHALE to lift the RIGHT arm and LEFT left a few inches off the mat, and EXHALE to lower the arm and leg down. INHALE to lift the opposite arm and leg off the mat, and EXHALE to lower. Repeat 5-10 times on each leg.

Pilates Push Up – Believe it or not, Pilate-style Push Ups are just the same as Tricep-style Push Ups. But since Pilates was used to help rehabilitate military personnel, it makes perfect sense. To change things up a bit, though, we are going to change the breathing pattern to make it a little different and more challenging for you. Start in a full plank position with your wrists under your shoulder and abs pulled tight. Connect with your mind as you begin. EXHALE as you lower down into a push, keeping your elbows in close by your sides. Once you hit your lowest point, INHALE as you press back up. Stay focused on your breathing because it is the OPPOSITE of what you would normally do. You’ll be surprised at how much more challenging it will be by only changing the breath!

After this workout you will stronger in your daily life and in your other workouts!

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